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Burning Bright

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

There’s a new “big cat” loose in cold-water fisheries of the hemisphere, the healthy spawn of demons and angels. Just as rainbows and browns are known to cross-breed with salmon, even in the wild, the DNA of cagey and savage browns can also intermingle with char–in specific, the angelic “jewel of the headwater” char we call brook trout–to produce a fast-growing, aggressive and eminently hardy intergeneric hybrid cross-breed known as the Tiger.

And technically it’s not new, given that it occurs outside of labs. Browns don’t usually breed with other trout species in the wild–their life strategies, one critical aspect of which is the time of year they spawn, allow them to share habitat and still preserve the many advantages of their unique and diverse DNA. Salmo trutta, the species from which the many sub-species of brown trout and sea trout spring, can thus remain separate from western hemisphere “Oncorhynchus,” the genus of rainbows, cutthroat and the various goldens. (If brown genetics and other trout genetics do accidentally mix, the offspring will be sterile, which again safeguards DNA dilution.) However, on rare occasions, browns tango with brookies, who also spawn in autumn. The hybrid “tiger trout” (Salmo trutta × Salvelinus fontinalis) is the result when they do.

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Brook Trout Alternative

Photo by Joseph Stine
Photo by Joseph Stine

Guest Blogger: Chuck Holmes

I am sure after this article I will be accused of blasphemy, but, I am amazed at how some fly fishers rave over catching a six inch brook trout. I know they get much bigger, but a lot of the photos I see on Facebook and other sites are of very small fish. I live in Ohio and there are not a lot of opportunities to catch brookies. West Virginia has a great trout stocking program for rainbows and browns, but brook trout are native to some of their smaller streams. Shortly after I got into fly fishing, one of our club members organized a trip to West Virginia. He said we were going to a small stream where we could catch native brook trout. Since I had never caught any trout on a fly, I was looking forward to the adventure. We drove six hours to get to the stream that was part of the Elk River system. We checked into the lodge where we were staying and settled in for a good night’s sleep, my dreams filled with visions of 20 inch brook trout we would catch the next day.

Continue reading → Brook Trout Alternative